When major attractions at theme parks like Walt Disney World get changed or removed, there is almost always an outcry. Many of these rides have been around for decades, and countless people have grown up with them, so losing them feels like losing a memory. However, the most recent announcement of the official end of two Disney World rides, Stitch's Great Escape! at Magic Kingdom and Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom, was met with... a lot of silence, honestly.
The truth is neither of these attractions were particularly beloved. We actually reported on the closure of the rides by calling one of them the worst ride in the resort. However, CinemaBlend's Theme Park Beat Reporter Dirk Libbey and News Director Jessica Rawden have discovered they are in disagreement over which ride that headline is actually referencing.
So which attraction actually was the worst at Walt Disney World? Let's talk it out.
Dirk: I was one of the first people "lucky" enough to experience Stitch's Great Escape. I was on vacation at Walt Disney World in the fall of 2004 and my wife and I were walking through Tomorrowland when a cast member walked up to us and asked if we wanted to try out a new attraction. It hadn't opened to the public yet, we didn't know what we were in for.
It was so disappointing. The attraction took place almost entirely in the dark and so you never got to actually see anything. The experience relied on sound effects to make you feel like action was taking place around you, and that worked, but it all came off as a cheap way to build an attraction without having to actually make anything. And it sort of was that. Stitch's Great Escape was a quick and dirty replacement for ExtraTERRORestrial Alein Encounter but without any of the scary bits that made that fun. Instead of a monster breathing down your neck, you just got an annoying jerk mumbling in your ear.
Jessica: Sure, Stich’s Great Escape has a history of being underwhelming with the fanbase and I would not attempt to argue that point. However, what I would argue is worse than “underwhelming” is a description like “vomit-inducing” and the latter is exactly how I’d describe Primeval Whirl.
If you haven’t ridden this ride, think of it like a regular “Wild Mouse” type coaster, with smaller seats and rapid corners to lurch around. Then, tack on the fact that on top of the usual pitfalls of this type of coaster, Primeval Whirl has the added “bonus” of spinning the car. I love thrill rides. I actively seek out coasters that often give people whiplash but nothing I’ve ever tried has made me feel as icky after riding, including Disney World’s other coasters in a similar vein. Does Stitch make you feel ill? I think not.
Dirk: Oh, if only that were true. But yes, Stitch's Great Escape absolutely makes me ill. I forgot to mention the "best" part of the attraction, which comes when the little blue alien supposedly steals a chili dog from another guest (who apparently broke all the rules about bringing food inside) scarfs it down, and then belches. I will hand it to Walt Disney Imagineering, they found a way to accurately recreate the stench of a chili dog burp. As a creative endeavor, it was likely no small feat, but why they would force a room full of innocent people strapped into chairs to smell such a horrid thing, I can't begin to imagine.
Jessica: That part never actively bothered me! Although I will say, the fact you just gave some credit to Disney Imagineering makes me even more confident that “Stich’s Great Escape” is not the worst of the worst. Primeval Whirl, on the other hand, had very little Imagineering involved. It was a steel coaster that was purchased from the now-defunct brand Reverchon Industries. It hung out in a back part of Animal Kingdom that was typically less populated by visitors than other sections. It really always felt like an afterthought to an otherwise detailed park.
Suffice to say there are plenty of cons for both rides and it's hard to see many of the pros. Which is probably why Disney World already had both rides on more of a seasonal basis before ultimately deciding to drop them. But we gotta ask: Which now defunct attraction is actually the worst? It's your turn to sound off in the poll below.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.